You know how sometimes a book crosses your path and you know absolutely nothing about it, but the cover just makes you want to pick it up? This is exactly what happened to me with The Family Fang. I was instantly intrigued by the edgy cover design, which reminded me of A Series of Unfortunate Events meets The Royal Tenenbaums meets Bored to Death. A quick scan of the back cover noted a lovely blurb from Anne Patchett. A poll of my literary go-to-friends elicited the appropriate amount of cooing. “Oooh, The Family Fang. Supposed to be good. Haven’t read it yet. On my list.”
I excitedly checked it out with only a small rock in my gut, because I have to say, sometimes these key ingredients -- beautiful jacket cover plus glowing review by a fave author plus friend praise -- don’t always add up to be a win win in the incredible book department. Like any recipe you try for the first time, something can go horribly wrong, which, as a self-described heartless reader I usually know by page 15. So imagine my delight when I opened The Family Fang and was immediately hooked.
What a beautifully written, intriguing first novel from Alex Award winner Kevin Wilson. Here the author has taken the idea of performance art and turned it on its head by asking what happens when two self-obsessed artists have children. Why, they turn their children into an art project of course! Annie and Buster Fang (known only as Child A and Child B) spend their entire childhood this way. Fast forward 15 years. The Fang parents have suddenly disappeared. As their grown (and now estranged) children try to figure out what happened, all the while they ask themselves if this is just another one of their parents’ elaborate artistic events, or are the Fangs really dead? As a reader you will find yourself pleasantly on the edge of your seat until the last bizarre and wonderful moments unfold.